Chocolate Crazy Cake

106 Comments 4.9

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Jump to Recipe

Chocolate Crazy Cake is one of the easiest cakes you’ll ever make. Like my beloved Cinnamon Toast Cake, this is an egg-free cake, but the Crazy Cake also requires no dairy.

This makes it the perfect dessert to make on a whim with little more than a handful of things from the pantry.

Chocolate Crazy Cake

Old Fashioned Crazy Cake

I’m willing to bet that if you could peek inside your grandmother’s recipe box, you might find this recipe. Also called a Wacky Cake, Depression Cake or War Cake, this Chocolate Crazy Cake is a simple chocolate cake that requires no dairy and no eggs.

The Crazy Cake was created during World War I when ingredients were difficult to find and purchase. Dessert was a luxury during those times and this cake helped make it possible to enjoy an occasional sweet treat.

Crazy Cake

The basic recipe for this Chocolate Crazy Cake is simple as can be with just a handful of ingredients. It’s terrific with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar over the top.

To make it a little fancier, I chose to frost the cake with my favorite Fluffy Chocolate Frosting. If you need a dairy-free frosting or a vegan cake, this Rich Chocolate Vegan Frosting or this Vegan Maple Cream Frosting would be perfect for that. 

Old Fashioned Crazy Cake

Tips For Making Crazy Cake

While it might sound silly to follow these directions exactly, trust me here. It’s easy as can be and the clean-up is a breeze. Grease the pan, add the dry ingredients and make wells in the flour for the wet ingredients.

Pour water over the top and stir or whisk well with a fork until the wet and dry ingredients are well incorporated.

I’ve been making this cake for more years than I can remember and I’ve always made it as written. As I was making this cake to photograph and share with you, I wanted to add a note to the recipe that says, feel free to just mix the cake batter in a bowl if that’s your preference.

HOWEVER, I tried that twice and the cake turned out lopsided. How is that even possible? I can’t figure out if that’s a weird fluke or actual food science, but I recommend that you make it as written.

Crazy Cake Recipe

Kitchen Tip: I use this baking pan to make this recipe.

Crazy Cake Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square pan with butter. In the greased pan, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk lightly with a fork or small whisk to combine.
  2. Make two small wells and 1 large well in the dry ingredients (as pictured) and add the vinegar, vanilla, and oil to the wells. Pour the water over the top and whisk again to combine thoroughly.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely. Sprinkle the cool cake with powdered sugar or top with your favorite frosting.
Crazy Cake

Gluten Free Crazy Cake

I’ve said more than once that “good enough for gluten-free” simply doesn’t cut it here. I test most gluten-free baked goods side by side with their traditional counterparts and the gluten-free variations I tried for the crazy cake recipe were simply not the same.

I will continue to work on this one and will update here if I find a substitute truly on par with the original. Because I’ve had so many requests for a gluten-free crazy cake recipe, I’ve included the best adaptation I’ve come up with so far in the recipe notes.

The gluten-free crazy cake is tasty, but there is something slightly different and it isn’t a perfect match for the original.

For a gluten-free chocolate cake that you’ll still be dreaming about the next day, I highly recommend The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cake and The Best Gluten Free White Cake.

Get New Recipessent to your inbox!
We never share your information with third parties and will protect it in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Crazy Cake

Chocolate Crazy Cake

4.94 from 30 votes
Chocolate Crazy Cake is one of the easiest cakes you'll ever make. Like my beloved Cinnamon Toast Cake, this is an egg-free cake, but the Crazy Cake also requires no dairy.
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour *
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup light flavored olive oil or the alternate oil of your choice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 recipe Fluffy Chocolate Frosting (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square pan with butter. In the greased pan, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk lightly with a fork or small whisk to combine. 
  • Make two small wells and 1 large well in the dry ingredients (as pictured) and add the vinegar, vanilla, and oil to the wells. Pour the water over the top and whisk again to combine thoroughly.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely. Sprinkle the cool cake with powdered sugar or top with your favorite frosting. Enjoy!

Notes

* Gluten Free Alternative: 1 1/3 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca starch, and 1/4 cup potato starch, plus an additional 2 tbsps oil

Nutrition

Calories: 180kcal · Carbohydrates: 30g · Protein: 2g · Fat: 6g · Saturated Fat: 1g · Sodium: 203mg · Potassium: 53mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 16g · Calcium: 5mg · Iron: 1.1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

Pin this nowto remember it later
Pin this recipe

{originally published 4/9/18 – recipe notes and photos updated 3/2/22}

How To Make A Crazy Cake

Filed under: , , ,

Tagged with:

Share this Article

PinYummly

Related Posts

Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

Reader Interactions

106 Comments Leave a comment or review

    Rate & Comment

    Rating




    You can now include images of your recipes in your comments! You'll need to register or log in to upload images.

  1. marsha cohen says

    this cake and icing sound delicious and perfect to take for my granddaughter’s birthday – she will frost and decorate (our birthday tradition; we will be masked but together!) as part of her family only celebration this year of covid 19.

    can i make the cake and frosting one days ahead?

    • Mary Younkin says

      The cake will definitely work nicely a day ahead, Marsha. I don’t typically recommend making frosting ahead of time as it will need to be fully re-warmed to room temp in order to be spreadable and that just can’t be hurried. (and this time of year, if the house is cool, it might stay pretty firm.) However, it doesn’t take very long to mix it up, so I typically make it when ready to use it. I’d recommend mixing it up right before heading to the birthday party.

  2. Sandra Goodson says

    I’ve been making this cake for several years. If I’m lucky, it’ll make it to the frosting stage before the family attacks. LOL
    I’ve also used cold black coffee in place of the water…gave the cake a deeper chocolate flavor.5 stars

  3. Cami Lyn Parks says

    can you mix it all in a bowl then pout it in? Just asking. My G-Daughter is Dairy Free and I am going to make this with her!! Can’t wait to try it!

  4. Toni says

    been making this for years only in a big 13 by 9 pan. To lazy to half and found this. Yummy and small. Thank you5 stars

  5. Milk Man says

    Hello,
    I made an account just for this, so I made this cake once before and it was incredible but this time around I wanted to make a cake for my friend and he said that he likes vanilla cakes better, so I was wondering if you this recipe would work without the cocoa powder and if so would that make it a borderline vanilla cake? wanted to know because I’m not the best at making cakes but I know I can make this cake easily!!

    Thanks!
    -Milk Man

    • Mary Younkin says

      Yes! It does work. I should probably fine-tune that recipe and share it separately. I played with it a while back to see if I could do just that. I recommend upping the vanilla to 2 tsps for more flavor. Enjoy!

  6. Ida says

    So instead of sugar use Serbia and instead of oil applesauce can this be turned into a Weight Watchers recipie? Also have a cute 6cup Bundy pan if I mixed in a gospel could I usr my pan and make this a small cake for us?

  7. Aubrey says

    This recipe was a huge hit! Came out perfect, and the frosting…. OMG. Absolutely loved the frosting! Will definitely save to make again, and again.5 stars

  8. Marcia says

    Made this doubled into cupcakes for potluck … lots of good comments. This is a good recipe for grandchildren wanting to learn to cook, as it always is a success.

  9. Kelly says

    A VERY long time ago, in grade school, a friend and I did a 4-H presentation at the county fair, for chocolate Wacky cake. Love this recipe and I can’t believe it has been so many decades since I made it. Really must remedy that fact…5 stars

  10. corrina says

    Made this for the first time, it was pretty good. I forgot to add the baking soda and it still turned out.5 stars

  11. Tina says

    Delighted how easy this cake was to mix & bake. Delicious & very moist; but stuck to parchment paper & was very hard to serve. Will definitely make again. Any one have suggestion as to why cake didn’t rise as high in center as sides?4 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’ve never used parchment paper with this cake, so I can’t speak to that specifically. Typically, when a cake rises higher on the sides, it might have benefitted from a few more minutes of baking to encourage the center to rise as well.

  12. Lauren says

    I’ve always been a box recipe type of girl but I’ve been trying to find the perfect most simple recipe for a chocolate cake. Writing this review as I’m enjoying this deliciousness, did everything written and it came out PERFECT. Beautiful rise, perfect amt of sweetness. This was my first time making a cake from scratch & this will definitely be my go to recipe ! Thank you!!5 stars